CHAGUANAS North Secondary School have been awarded the Coca Cola Intercol Central Zone title after Carapichaima East Secondary were stripped of their title for fielding an ineligible player in the final on November 21.
The player in question is "Caps" goalkeeper Nicholai Rivers, who saved a penalty in the school’s 7-6 victory via kicks from the penalty mark in last week’s championship match.
Rivers, who passed for Chaguanas North Secondary in 2015, attended that school up until the 2020/2021 academic year.
In his final year, he was enrolled as a sixth-form student. However, he was marked absent for all of his term exams and did not show up at school for the 2021/2022 academic year. His appearance on the field for "Caps" raised eyebrows.
According to the Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) regulations, a player must have at least one A Level pass for a form six transfer repeat. Rivers did not meet the competition’s requirements.
A complaint was filed by Chaguanas North.
Following a committee meeting, SSFL’s assistant secretary, Gerald Elliott, released a statement on November 26 saying, “The registration of the student did not reflect that the boy was a lower-six transfer and therefore the committee was not able to pick it up.
“(The) penalty for (the) infringement (will be the) suspension of (the) school from further competition in the division for the remainder of the season. Therefore, the school will lose the Intercol match and (the) game (will be) awarded to Chaguanas North Secondary with three points and three goals.”
Carapichaima East were given 72 hours to appeal the decision.
Carapichaima also faces possible relegation from the SSFL Premiership.
St Augustine, who ended the season without a single point, finished bottom of group A in the Premiership while Carapichaima sat second-from-bottom alongside Pleasantville with four points each. However, the south team edged ahead of Caps owing to to a greater goal-difference.
This season’s league format sees the last-placed teams from both groups automatically relegated and the second-to-last teams battle each other in a playoff to claim a spot to stay in the competition.
Carapichaima’s stripped title and suspension from all SSFL competitions can open a door for both St Augustine and Pleasantville to avoid relegation.
However, a decision is yet to be made by the SSFL regarding this situation.
As things stand, Chaguanas North are the 2022 Intercol Central Zone champions and will face the Premiership and South Zone champions, St Benedict’s College, in the national quarterfinal on Monday.
That fixture will be held at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, and is scheduled to kick off at 3.30pm.